A culture of diversity at deutsche bank
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Published: Mon, 5 Dec 2016
The stalwart bank promises complete commitment and boasts of living through its people .It is significantly known for its culture that nurtures talent, EMBRACES DIVERSITY and rewards outstanding performances.
Its idea of achieving success lies in attracting the best talent in the market via demographic changes .In the year 2009 itself 1,429 apprentices were employed in Germany and around 771 university graduates were recruited globally.
As per their statement Deutsche Bank is committed to a ‘One Bank Culture’, and not a ‘One Culture Bank’ ,which goes beyond age, gender, disability, religion, ethnic origin or sexual identity as for the German Bank a diverse culture is not just desirable but it is an essential part of their style of conducting business.
Adaptability is what the bank adheres to by extracting its strengths from the its employees from varied cultural backgrounds and specific countries speaking different languages and following different religious norms .This helps it to cater to the various clients/customers with varied needs and desires and in return makes them stronger, more agile and smarter for delivering innovative solutions for their clients.
The following data gives the analysis of the varied regions and age groups that the employees of the bank hail from.
Europe (excluding Germany),
Middle East and Africa
Asia / Pacific
up to 24 years
25 – 34 years
35 – 44 years
45 – 54 years
over 54 years
Provision of an environment that supports people from all nooks and corners of the world helps the bank in creating a base in this competitive era with other international banks like HSBC, RBS etc going global. Diversity helps them in customization as per the requirement of the situation. They aim at fostering an inclusive culture that values the diverse mix of their employees, utilizes their talents and helps them realize their full potential. The bank provides an inclusive and supportive environment in which all employees can advance their careers and professional skills. Their employee networks offer opportunities for people with similar professional interests and corporate values to meet and network on a regular basis through meetings and events.
TOP MAN OF DEUTSCHE BANK – His style of management of the cultural issues:
CODE OF CONDUCT
Dr. Joseph Ackermann who is the top man of deutsche bank is currently the Chairman of the Management board and the Group Executive Committee became the most powerful man in Germany’s financial industry because of the global focus that he provided Deutsche Bank with. Facing immense opposition from the people who still were engrossed into traditional mediums of functioning Dr.Ackermann brought about a revolution with his vision for globalization and focus on shareholders and international performance. He spearheaded the merger of the U.S.-based Bankers Trust into Deutsche Bank in 1998 and was credited with facilitating the move by using an integrative and communicative approach. In 1999 Ackermann’s leadership of the global operations and institutions department generated 60 percent of Deutsche Bank’s year-end revenues.
Well with this urge for globalization he also concentrated on the amalgamation of its diverse workforce with the bank’s environment for the purpose of facing up challenges and seizing opportunities.
Diversity councils have been formed at various locations worldwide under the leadership of top management during 2009. These councils are responsible for ensuring that the global diversity strategy based on Deutsche Bank’s strategic goals is implemented also at regional level.
Particular emphasis is given on growing the number of women in senior positions, and the Women on Wall Street and Women in European Business networks and highly successful conferences are just two examples of their commitment to this.
As this was Dr.Ackermann’s vision he launched the ATLAS(Accomplished Top Leaders Advancement Strategy) program, in order to provide women leaders in the Bank with direct sponsorship from Group Executive Committee members.
He encourages the bank’s commitment towards its diverse workforce with a view of receiving benefits in return with better compatibility with the clients in terms of provision of financial services.
Depending on the location the employees are offered work-life balance benefits, pension plans and contributions, flexible work arrangements and health and advice services.
Deutsche Bank achieved 19th place in the Universum 2009 “World’s Most Attractive Employers” survey involving some 120,000 students at top universities. It also climbed to 7th position in the Hay Group’s ten “Most Admired Companies” in the banking sector, because of its culture at the work place.
Dr. Ackermann has also supported various corporate social responsibilities :
New elementary school for girls:
The employees and clients of Deutsche Bank have been asked to make donations for the construction of an elementary school for girls in northern Pakistan.
Once again the employees of Deutsche Bank came together from various corners of the world to raise fund for the victims of the Pakistan floods.
Little Artists Staff Art Exhibition and Auction:
Under his able guidance Deutsche bank extensively supports this program for educating the little children in the inner cities of Johannesburg by hosting art exhibitions wherein the paintings are mostly purchased by the employees from branches worldwide and the fund raised is thus utilized for the aforementioned purpose.
Thus Dr. Ackermann is a man with a vision for the bank that promotes a healthy work environment primarily for the growth of the bank and its profits. His mission has always been globalization by recruiting a diverse workforce for better treatment of situations with the clients. At Deutsche Bank, diversity is thus seen as an important aspect of corporate culture and a commercial imperative. Performance is the basis, irrespective of nationality, religion, race, sexual orientation, gender, age or ethnic origin.
He has been successful in convincing one and all that in the long run, the German bank will remain competitive if and only if it will rely on a broadly diversified workforce that cooperates closely across every kind of border. As an employer of people from 139 nations, it is essential for them to provide a bias-free, stimulating and inclusive working environment. Thus he certainly emerges out to be a friend and definitely not a threat to for the people working in his organization. He is a very strategic thinker and is very accommodative of the opinion of others however he does have a mind of his own which makes a good combination.Dr. Ackermann aims at making the bank an exciting place for the employees to work in .New schemes for compensation of the work both formally and informally has been devised .Bonuses in the good times and other variable components of the compensation schemes are provided in the form of company shares thus strongly following a performance based structure.
THE GERMAN WORK CULTURE:
In today’s global market it is essential to understand a country’s culture in order to be able to form and maintain a positive business relationship. Culture is something that is taught and shared, it sculpts the way people interact with others, handle situations, and solve problems. It is formed by values, society norms and historical factors. It explains why and how multinational corporations and international partnerships succeed or fail.
The business culture in Germany is classified according to the living and working systems that abide by meticulous structure with very little flexibility.
Planning every detail and moment provides a sense of security in knowing what will happen when.
It also allows them to plan their time efficiently and effectively.If employees are seen working late it is viewed as poor planning on their part.
Due to their view on planning, it is understandable why punctuality is an asset. It is mandatory to set appointments at least a week or two in advance and if one is delayed on coming then he/she should call immediately with an explanation.
Germany business’s use a hierarchy structure. The companies are well ordered and all employees are aware of their positions. The highest ranking person always enters and leaves a meeting first, as a sign of respect of their authority.
From an early age German’s are taught to respect authority automatically and not to question the method in which they are taught to accomplish duties. This is apparent in business meetings.
Meetings may be held in an open discussion but in order to participate, the employee must be either an expert in the field or have a proven record.The final decision is up to management and employees are expected to implement all task without hesitation
CULTURAL CHALLENGES FACED BY DEUTSCHE BANK AND THE RE-ENGINEERING REQUIRED:
Also some amount of light should be thrown on the gender diversity issue regarding the ratio of women: men which appear to be quite low.
The ATLAS program has been started in full flow with the view of training women for occupying the top management positions in the organization.
One of the key challenges faced by the bank was the financial crisis in the year 2009 .As per the records available the number of full time employees had fallen by 4.2% in comparison to the year 2008 worldwide. However the German bank did not surrender to a large scale restructuring but withstood the crises with great caliber and stability. They ultimately recruited a huge number of graduates from all over the globe organizing Summer Internship programs for the students thus recruited.
However these internship sessions should be more concrete and well organized as they tend to give the students the opportunities for gaining experience of its daily business operations across the Deutsche Bank Group. Cross cultural management should also be one of the key ingredients of the training programs which would actually make the students indulge into a better understanding of the different norms and work styles of the management hailing from varied cultural backgrounds. It is important to recognize that people from different cultures are different in a variety of ways, including different ways of attending meetings and negotiations which makes understanding of the cultural differences even more necessary and important.
Another major issue that came to my notice while surveying one of its branches in Bangalore (India) was that the employees there sometimes experience a disconnect, in terms of understanding of Indian values and traditions. Also the language and articulation sometimes hinders the flow of information. For the Germans, punctuality is a serious issue. Germans typically plan their time very carefully. It is considered a bad etiquette to be late or early as it
shows disrespect for people’s time. In India, punctuality is expected, although being 10 minutes late will not have disastrous consequences. Flexibility is paramount.
Also people in Deutsche Bank certainly respect cultural differences and acknowledge them to a great degree. As observed by the workforce in India ,on the auspicious occasion of Eid which even though fell on a Wednesday, a day for the employees to be dressed in formals Muslims working there were allowed to wear their traditional attire to office.
However there is a need to make employees feel more comfortable with their work environment and assure greater involvement of people on the wider organization related issues. The employees should be provided with regular performance appraisals including the 360 degree appraisal for making them familiar with the others around.
The need for provision of training for various other languages that is other than the ones already known to the employees in another major necessity. This will help in better communication and also in better development of the interpersonal relationship amongst the employees.
Informal meetings and recreational programs for people from various branches from all over the world should be organized for giving them an opportunity to understand the other cultures better.
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